The greatest feuds in Eagles history
Is there anything more pathetic than former teammates who had a falling out still bickering about it 15 years later? T.O. and Donovan McNabb will probably never stop lobbing insults at each other, and their feud, which traces its roots back to 2004, bubbled over again this week. But that wasn’t the first Eagles feud in history and it wasn’t the last. Here’s a look at some of the most celebrated Eagles feuds in history!
(All photos are AP Images)
Buddy vs. Braman
It wasn’t long after owner Norman Braman hired Buddy Ryan, prior to the 1986 season, that the colorful Kentucky-bred blue-collar Ryan started poking fun at Braman, a slick, wealthy Miami auto dealership magnate. By 1987, Buddy was openly mocking Braman, calling him “The guy in France,” referring to the owner’s fancy vacation home. When Ryan presented “scab rings” to a team executive at a press conference for putting together one of the NFL’s worst collections of replacement players – so-called scabs – during the 1987 player strike, Braman nearly fired Ryan. It’s a miracle Buddy lasted through 1990.
Randall vs. Reggie
Today, Randall Cunningham and Reggie White are both remembered as all-time great Eagles. Back in 1991, Cunningham and White were at the center of a team-wide schism after White accused Cunningham of playing a role in the firing of Buddy Ryan, who was beloved by the defensive players, and encouraging owner Norman Braman to hire offensive coordinator Rich Kotite, who was disliked by the defense. At a team meeting during spring minicamp, White and other defensive veterans accused Cunningham of being selfish and putting his own stats ahead of team goals. Fortunately, Cunningham and White reconciled years later and had become close before White’s death in 2004.
Seth vs. Kotite
Anybody who’s seen Seth Joyner on the NBC Sports Philadelphia Eagles pre-game or post-game show knows that he speaks his mind and never holds back. That’s true now and it was true when he was a Pro Bowl linebacker. Joyner, like the entire defense, was loyal to Buddy Ryan in the early 1990s and resented his hapless replacement, Rich Kotite. After a frustrating loss to the Packers, Joyner blasted Kotite’s play calling, saying, “You’ve got to have some nuts and guts about you.” He later called Kotite a puppet of owner Norman Braman and correctly predicted that Kotite and Braman would be responsible for a free agency exodus at the end of the year.
Freddie vs. Donovan
Freddie Mitchell never tried to hide his feelings about Donovan McNabb. The two never got along, and when a quarterback and a starting wide receiver don’t like each other, it can get ugly. Freddie constantly blasted McNabb for not throwing him the ball, and in 2004 the former 1st-round pick had only nine catches in the first eight games of the season when McNabb heaved him that crazy 60-yard bomb to Mitchell on a Monday night in Dallas – “The Play that Went on Forever” – and Mitchell celebrated by pointing to an imaginary watch on his wrist, his way of telling McNabb, “IT’S ABOUT TIME.”
T.O. vs. Hugh
Douglas had just retired following the 2004 Super Bowl season and was serving in 2005 in a position Andy Reid created as a sort of player liason to the coaching staff. He held the title Eagles Ambassador, which he changed to Bad-Assador. Middle of the season, T.O. didn’t like something Hugh said, went after him and the two actually started brawling right there in the NovaCare Complex trainer’s room. The Eagles immediately suspended Owens, and he never played another snap for the Eagles.
Dawk vs. Banner
Brian Dawkins’ last season with the Eagles was 2008, and as late as 2012, when the Eagles retired his number, he admitted he was still bitter about the way his contract negotiation was handled before he wound up bolting for the Broncos, where he finished his career. Joe Banner conceded years later he made mistakes while trying to negotiate with Dawkins’ agent after that 2008 season, and the two finally reconciled in 2018 when Dawkins invited Banner and his family to his Hall of Fame enshrinement, and the Banners were there to support Dawk during his Hall of Fame induction.
B.G. vs. Wash
I asked Brandon Graham a few years ago about all the adversity he faced early in his career and what the low point was. He immediately answered, “The low point was when Wash was here. That was my low point. Because Wash would make you feel bad, boy. Like you can’t play at all.” Jim Washburn, then the Eagles’ defensive line coach, barely played B.G., who had been a first-round pick in 2010. Graham’s career took off after Andy Reid fired Washburn in the middle of the 2012 season.
Cary Williams vs. Riley Cooper
It was September of 2013, just a few weeks after video surfaced of Riley Cooper using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert at the Linc, that Williams went after Cooper at practice and the two mixed it up on the practice field, during a portion of practice that was open to the media. It went well beyond a typical teammate skirmish and it took a while before a group of teammates, led by Michael Vick, was able to break it up. Although neither one ever publically acknowledged that the fight was related to Cooper’s incident at the concert, Williams did reportedly refer to the video as they scuffled.
Howie vs. Chip
There was never any love lost between Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly, but on Jan. 2, 2015, their long-simmering power struggle came to a head when Eagles owner Jeff Lurie stripped Roseman of his GM power and gave Kelly full control of personnel. The Eagles tried to paint the restructure as a promotion for Roseman. He got a new title, but his responsibilities went from overseeing personnel to overseeing the equipment staff. Chip saw Roseman as a football outsider and took back-handed shots at him every chance he got, including once saying he had no idea what Howie did. Chip was fired a year later, Howie was restored to power and won a Super Bowl and Chip has gone 9-31 since with the 49ers and UCLA.
Malcolm vs. Scandrick
During his October FS1 TV audition thinly disguised as a legit interview soon after the Eagles cut him, Orlando Scandrick blasted former teammate Malcolm Jenkins, calling the Eagles’ unquestioned leader and three-time Pro Bowl safety selfish. Jenkins’ response later that day was legendary: “Look, I really (don’t) give two s— about people who ain’t here. For us to move on as a team, we can’t have motherf——s like that in the room.” If we’re lucky, we’ll never hear from Scandrick again.